Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

City ban bursts balloon releases

Balloons
The council has banned balloon releases after lobbying

Belfast City Council has banned balloon releases after it said they posed a risk to marine life.

The council said it took the decision after lobbying from the Marine Conservation Society.

Richard Harrington from the society said balloons could cause harm to marine animals and other wildlife.

He said while most flew into the high atmosphere and exploded into fragments about one in 10 floated down intact and could end up being eaten by animals.

"In a sort of partially inflated state they float down and can land in water looking like something appetising and poses a threat to all sorts of animals," he said.

"We're not saying that balloons should be banned or that they should not be played with.

"Indoors let them go in a big sports arena up to the ceiling etc, but all we are saying is just don't let them go and simply forget about them - you do need to have a conscience about this."

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